Labour staffer at centre of assault allegations resigns

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern maintains she knew nothing of the alleged incident until reports were made public

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern maintains she knew nothing of the alleged incident until reports were made public

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised yesterday for her party's handling of an alleged sexual assault, as a top ally was forced to resign. Three months later, the staffer was cleared.

"The toll that is being taken on him is severe", the lawyer said.

Ardern has repeatedly said she first became aware of the allegations from reports on Monday, but documents obtained by domestic media show senior Labour figures were sent testimony of the sexual assault allegations previous year.

Mr Davenport said he had advised his client that it would be "completely inappropriate" to litigate the matters in the media and would not be doing so. Haworth and the panel dispute this, saying they were never told about a sexual assault claim.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has held a last minute press conference at Parliament this morning as the pressure mounts over Labour Party sexual assault allegations.

"We've heard from the prime minister this week about what she said, about the fact that at every stage of this process, whenever concerns have been raised, they've been referred to the party to ensure that they were being acted on appropriately - that is the same experience for me".

The man has been working away from Parliament's precinct for the past five weeks.

Some of the complainants were also angered that he had been present a party events, though Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said that people's safety had always been given the highest priority.

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The staffer's resignation is likely to be welcomed to the complainants, who said that Haworth's resignation was a step forward but the issue of safety remained.

An internal investigation recommended no action against the man and Mr Haworth argued as recently as Tuesday that the complainant did not inform him about the seriousness of the allegations.

Complainants have claimed that Robertson was told about the claims on June 30.

Yesterday she saw emails that confirmed in her mind that harm had been caused to the complainants through the process, she said.

"Raising an allegation of sexual assault is an incredibly hard thing to do - for additional distress to be caused through the way these allegations are handled is incredibly distressing", Ms Ardern said in a statement.

She said it was not a time-limited offer.

A complaint had been laid with Parliamentary Service, but it was not related to the staffer's employment.

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